If NBA players are not vaccinated, they shouldn’t be on the team, basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told Rolling Stone. “The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” said Abdul-Jabbar.

“There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff, and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research.”

Abdul-Jabbar elaborated on that point during an interview on Don Lemon Tonight Monday, saying, “I don’t think that they are behaving like good teammates or good citizens. This is a war that we’re involved in. And masks and vaccines — they are the weapons that we use to fight this war.”


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Abdul-Jabbar has been a vocal advocate for getting the Covid-19 vaccine. The NBA great received his vaccine on camera and appeared in an NBA public service announcement encouraging others to get vaccinated. The NBA does not require players to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to play.

However, referees and other staff who work closely with players are required to be fully vaccinated. New York City and San Francisco changed the game in August when they required that NBA players on their home teams be vaccinated.

That could mean that stars of NBA teams in those cities would not be able to play, unless they are medically or religiously exempted. Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving wasn’t physically present with his teammates at the Nets annual media day on Monday. But Irving took a question on the issue remotely.  READ MORE